Crazy beast

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This animal lived on the island of Madagascar 66 million years ago, a time when dinosaurs ruled and most mammals were the size of mice. It was about the size of a cat, with robust claws, suggesting it was capable of digging. Newly named Adalatherium (or “crazy beast” in a combination of Malagasy and Greek), it’s the first complete skeleton to be found that belongs to a group of mammals called gondwanatherians, indicating what this unknown southern hemisphere family may have actually looked like. “This is the first real look at a novel experiment in mammal evolution,” says Alistair Evans from Monash University, one of the study’s authors. “The strangeness of the animal is clearly apparent in the teeth—they are backwards compared to all other mammals, and must have evolved fresh from a remote ancestor.”

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